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A pharmacist wearing a protective respiratory mask tends to a customer in Codogno, southeast of Milan, on Feb 22, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

Coronavirus: Two dead, 58 infected in Italy as outbreak reaches Milan

Cases of the new coronavirus in Italy, the worst affected country in Europe, rose on Saturday to nearly 60, including two people who have died, and spread to the financial capital Milan.

Authorities in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, where the outbreak is concentrated, have shut down schools and banned public events while companies from Ray-Ban owner Luxottica to the country's top bank UniCredit have told workers living in the worst hit areas to stay home.

Lombardy and Veneto represent Italy's industrial heart and jointly account for 30% of gross domestic output.

The first death was a 76-year-old woman who was found dead at her home 50km south of Milan on Thursday and tested positive for the coronavirus. A 78-year-old man died of the infection in a hospital near Padua on Friday night.


Macron says unclear if EU-Britain to have trade deal by year-end

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday cast doubt over the likelihood of the European Union and Britain reaching a post-Brexit trade deal by the end of the year, saying he expected fishing talks to be very tough.

"It's going to be tense because they are very tough...Boris Johnson has a card in his hand and it is fishing and with that he will try to gain access to the market," Macron told representatives of the French fishing industry at a farm show in Paris.

"It is not certain that we will have a global deal by the end of the year."


Turkish President Erdogan announces Syria summit for March 5

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said he would hold a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on March 5 to discuss the escalating violence in Syria's last rebel enclave of Idlib.

The announcement comes a day after two European Union heavyweights France and Germany called for a four-party summit involving Turkish and Russian leaders.

"We will come together on March 5 and discuss these issues," Erdogan said in a televised speech to his party supporters in the western province of Izmir, following a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a teleconference with French President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday.


Premier League: Jesus strikes as Man City edge past Leicester

Gabriel Jesus struck to give Manchester City a 1-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday, strengthening their hold on second place behind champions-in-waiting Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola's men have endured a turbulent week after they were banned from European club competitions for two years for breaches of financial fair play rules.

But a second-half winner from substitute Jesus after Sergio Aguero had failed to convert a penalty put them 17 points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.


Creator of iconic Lego figure dead at 78

Jens Nygaard Knudsen, who designed the iconic Lego minifigure with interchangeable legs and torsos, has died while in hospice care from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), his former colleague said Saturday.

The 78-year old former designer passed away on Wednesday at a hospice centre where he had stayed for a week, according to Lego designer Niels Milan Pedersen, a former colleague for Nygaard Knudsen.

Nygaard Knudsen, who died at the Anker Fjord Hospice outside the small town of Hvide Sande on the Danish west coast, was a designer at the Danish toy brick maker from 1968 to 2000.


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